When the US pioneered the use of internet as a part of a military project in 1958, little did it fathom that it will be such a big hit commercially as it is now. Today internet users account for 16.6 % or 1,093,529,692 of the total World population. Now that’s what is called a revolution.
Internet’s story in India is no less revolutionary.
Back in 1958, had one referred to the internet, he would have received the same blank glares as Aristotle would have when he first proposed that the earth is a sphere.
India took half a century to recognise the vast potentials of internet.
India’s tryst with internet starts way back in 1995. With VSNL setting up internet via dial-up in six major cities, India is jostled from its deep slumber and long isolation from the outside world. Among the notable first websites launched is Rediff.com. Also ‘Cybercafe’, from which the present day cybercafés take their name, is launched in a Mumbai hotel. This was a green signal to the launch of a slew of websites such as ICICI.com, Naukri.com, Baazee.com, and so on.
India’s big time was when Sabeer Bhatia sold Hotmail to Microsoft for a whooping $400 million.
Indian internet enterprise also had its share of lows. The 2001 dotcom bubble burst was a severe blow which ate up many dotcom enterprises. Many of them went into hibernation.
But Indian talent has shown that they can survive, whatever be the circumstances. And the Indian internet enterprise sure has come up. Six years hence, India is promising to become a hot new destination for IT industries. By 2007, IAMAI has predicted that the number of internet users will grow up to 100 million. India today is the fourth largest internet user.
That’s not the end of the story. Every enterprise has its own encouraging story of how it made internet and information technology to reap mounting profits for itself and improve the living standards of its consumers.
Internet is making fast inroads in practically every aspect of life. Gone are the days when people would check results in newspapers or would stand for hours to book a train ticket. Now everything is available at the click of mouse. From buying gadgets to matching profiles for marriage and jobs, internet is present everywhere.
Internet in India has still a long way to go. Internet is still available in India to just 46 million people in india; out of this only 32 million people actively use the internet. Thus, a large part of the population is not able to enjoy the fruits of the internet. According to reports released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), there were just 2.69 million broadband connections at the end of October 2007. The speed of internet thus is very slow. For internet, there must also be computers. The price of computers will have to be reduced to bring to more affordable levels.